2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
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|2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season|
The 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season was the eighteenth season of the third highest stock car racing in the United States. The season was contested over twenty-two races, beginning with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway and ending with the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR announced some changes, including the removal of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, and Lucas Oil Raceway from the schedule, and moving the Phoenix race back to its traditional fall date. James Buescher of Turner Motorsports claimed his first championship with a 13th-place finish in the season finale. Chevrolet won the Manufacturer's Championship with 166 points and 12 wins.
The Truck Series started its 2012 season at Daytona. The race was dominated by the Turner Motorsports trio of Miguel Paludo, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and James Buescher. However, rookie John King accidentally spun leader Johnny Sauter coming to the white flag, and held off teammate Timothy Peters on the final restart for his first career victory. After a one-month break, the Truck Series returned to Martinsville. There, Kevin Harvick dominated the field, leading a race record 248 laps en route to his first win of 2012. The following week, NASCAR made its return to Rockingham Speedway after an 8-year absence. Nelson Piquet, Jr. would dominate the early portions of the race from the pole, but fell out of contention due to a speeding penalty. Kasey Kahne, who had started in the rear, would take advantage and hold off teammate James Buescher for his first win of 2012. The next week at Kansas, Buescher dominated the race and held off points leader Timothy Peters for his first career victory.
At Charlotte, Justin Lofton saved enough fuel to hold off Brad Keselowski for his first Truck Series win. The following week at Dover, Todd Bodine was declared the race winner after rain stopped the race with 53 laps to go. At Texas, Johnny Sauter, enduring a rough start to the 2012 season, put the bad luck behind him and passed teammate Matt Crafton with 22 laps to go to grab his first win of the season and a ThorSport Racing 1–2 finish. At Kentucky, Buescher dominated the race and held off Keselowski to become the first repeat winner of 2012. The series headed to Iowa, where Buescher once again dominated, but was taken out of contention when his right front tire went flat. Veteran Ron Hornaday, Jr. took over the lead, but spun the tires on the final restart, allowing polesitter Timothy Peters to slip past with 10 to go and hold off the field for his first win of 2012. The series hit Chicagoland, where Brendan Gaughan dominated the race. However, James Buescher rallied from changing a carburetor to grab the lead from Gaughan late in the race and held him off for his third win of the season.
The trucks then made their stop at the newly repaved Pocono. Nelson Piquet, Jr. once again dominated the race from pole, but after a caution for a crash involving points leader Timothy Peters, Joey Coulter made a three wide move on the final restart to take the lead and hold off James Buescher and Piquet for his first Truck Series win. The series made its stop Michigan. Despite an early spin from contact with Kurt Busch, Nelson Piquet, Jr. and crew chief Chris Carrier decided to stay out during the final round of pit stops, putting him in the lead and easily holding off the field for his first career win. At a reconfigured Bristol, Timothy Peters led all 204 laps and held off teammate Parker Kligerman and rookie Ross Chastain on a green white checkered finish to take his second win of the season. At Atlanta, rookie polesitter Ty Dillon battled for the lead throughout the night with Kyle Busch. When Busch hit the wall with 5 laps to go, Dillon drove past for the lead and held on for his first victory.
The Truck Series returned to Iowa, where Parker Kligerman dominated the race from pole. However, a caution with 60 to go put Kligerman and the rest of the leaders on the tail end of the lead lap. Ryan Blaney, driving Kligerman's former truck, held off Ty Dillon to score his first win, becoming the youngest driver ever to win in the series. At Kentucky, James Buescher once again proved his dominance on the intermediate tracks, dominating the race to take his fourth win of the season. At Las Vegas, polesitter Joey Coulter dominated the race. Matt Crafton, seeking his first win of the year, managed to pass Coulter with 15 to go. However, Nelson Piquet, Jr. would pass Crafton on the final lap to score his second win of 2012. At Talladega, Parker Kligerman, with a push from Johnny Sauter passed the championship duo of Ty Dillon and James Buescher with 2 to go to grab his first career victory.
After the final off weekend of the season, the Trucks returned to action at Martinsville. Despite starting in the back, Cup driver Denny Hamlin drove to the front of the field and fought off Matt Crafton in the closing laps to win his second consecutive fall Martinsville race. The series returned to Texas for the final stretch, and Johnny Sauter and dominant polesitter Nelson Piquet, Jr. battled back and forth throughout the race. Sauter grabbed the lead from Piquet on the final stop, but had to contend with Parker Kligerman running on two tires. Sauter made the pass with 11 to go and cruised to his second win of the season and the sweep at Texas. On a caution filled night at a reconfigured Phoenix, Brian Scott dueled K&N East Series Champion Kyle Larson and held him off on a green white checkered finish to give Kyle Busch Motorsports its first Truck win of 2012. At the season finale in Homestead, Larson dueled Kyle Busch for the lead throughout the night. However, he was taken out late by a hard charging Ty Dillon, later crashing into Ryan Blaney and forcing a red flag. On the ensuing green-white-checkered restart, Cale Gale made a last lap pass on Busch to score his first career win, while James Buescher finished 13th and claimed his first championship.
Teams and drivers
Note: A driver designated with a (R) next to their name indicates that they are contenders for the 2012 Rookie of the Year award.
- The Kevin Harvick Incorporated-Richard Childress Racing Merger and Related Spinoff
- Richard Childress Racing, per agreement in the Kevin Harvick Incorporated merger agreement, acquired the 2011 Owners Champion No. 2 truck as part of the Harvick-Childress merger that also included the No. 2 and No. 33 Nationwide teams. The No. 8 and No. 33 trucks were spun off in a separate deal.
- Harvick spun off the No. 8 and No. 33 Truck teams, which Eddie Sharp Racing, acquired. The teams in the spinoff join the present No. 6 truck driven by Justin Lofton to form a three-truck team, which resulted in a September 2011 decision to switch manufacturers from Toyota to Chevrolet immediately, with support from Childress. The spinoff also included development driver Cale Gale, who drove the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet.
- Other Changes
- ThorSport Racing switched to Toyota Tundras for the 2012 season, with the three teams of Matt Crafton (#88), Johnny Sauter (#13), and Dakoda Armstrong (#98) running for the full season.
- Discontinued operations
- Germain Racing had shut down the No. 9 and No. 30 trucks with employees asked to look for other employment, as the team's Sprint Cup team changed to Ford from Toyota.
- Changed teams
- Neither of the Kevin Harvick Incorporated drivers were retained by Eddie Sharp Racing after the spinoff. Ron Hornaday, Jr. joined Joe Denette Motorsports and drive their No. 9 Chevrolet. He was reunited with KHI crew chief Jeff Hensley. Hornaday was not an exempt driver through the points standings during the first five races, but had an exemption through his status as a former Series Champion. (Series champions have an exemption available in certain circumstances.)
- Nelson Piquet, Jr. moved to Turner Motorsports to contest the full Truck series season as well as a limited Nationwide schedule. Piquet, Jr. was teammates with fellow Brazilian Miguel Paludo, who leaves Red Horse Racing.
- After enduring a disappointing season at Germain Racing, Brendan Gaughan moves to Richard Childress Racing to run 8 Truck races. Those races were in the No. 2 truck acquired in the Childress-Harvick merger.
- After Germain Racing shut down its Truck Series operations, Todd Bodine moves to Red Horse Racing to driving the No. 11 truck that was the No. 7 that Miguel Paludo drove. However, Bodine tweeted that he needed sponsorship to run the season.
- After a disappointing 2011, David Starr took the number 81 with him to the newly formed Arrington Racing formed by engine builder Joey Arrington.
- After a one-year stint with Joe Denette Motorsports, Jason White formed his own team for 2012 and fielded Fords.
- Rookie entries
The Rookie of the Year standout would be Ty Dillon, the younger brother of 2011 Champion Austin Dillon. Ty scored a win at Atlanta and was in contention for the championship until a late crash at Homestead knocked him to 4th in the points but easily won him the RoTY title. Former Kevin Harvick Incorporated development driver Cale Gale was runner-up to Dillon, taking a pole at Bristol and a win at Homestead. Ross Chastain finished 3rd in the rookie battle, while John Wes Townley, despite missing Daytona, had two top-10s. Contenders Jeb Burton, Dakoda Armstrong, and Daytona winner John King saw their runs for RoTY aborted due to sponsorship issues. K&N Pro Series East Champion Max Gresham struggled with Joe Denette Motorsports and departed the team early on. Duke University graduate Paulie Harraka struggled most of the season with Wauters Motorsport and left before Atlanta.
- Returned to the series
- Tim George, Jr. returned to the Truck Series for the first time since 2009. He ran 12 races driving Richard Childress Racing's No. 2 truck inherited from Kevin Harvick Incorporated.
- David Reutimann returns to the series for 4 races with RBR Enterprises.
- Ward Burton returned to NASCAR for the first time after a five-year absence, driving the season-opening Daytona race for Hillman Racing. His son, Jeb would drive the following 4 races before a lack of sponsorship ended his run.
- Exited the series
- Truck Series champion Austin Dillon moved up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series full-time with crew chief Danny Stockman.
- Johanna Long moved to the Nationwide Series for a limited schedule with ML Motorsports.
- Cole Whitt moved up to the NASCAR Nationwide series full-time in the 88 Chevrolet with JR Motorsports.
The Las Vegas race, as a result of issues resulting from the 2011 race weekend, was moved back to late September as a stand-alone race. Originally, the Las Vegas race was set for October 13 at 12 noon PDT as part of the IndyCar weekend, but Indy Racing League LLC faces issues from the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship which the 2011 Truck race was the Saturday feature of the race meet, but that meet was removed as a result of legal issues following the death of Dan Wheldon on Lap 11 of the IZOD IndyCar Series feature.
Speedway Motorsports also removed races from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, while keeping the second Kentucky truck date and having the NASCAR Nationwide Series replace INDYCAR on the fall weekend.
Results and standings
(key) Bold – Pole position awarded by time. Italics – Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.
|4||Ty Dillon (R)||9||2||8||9||10||6||7||3||7||12||6||6||21||1||2||3||10||4*||28||5||15||25||784|
|7||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||22||6||7*||4||29||4||5||29||9||26||3*||1||18||8||6||12||1||31||2||3*||8||4||747|
|12||Cale Gale (R)||32||15||17||11||19||5||8||25||26||6||14||20||28||15||5||19||7||10||35||15||7||1||634|
|13||Ron Hornaday, Jr.||14||16||12||6||5||27||12||9||2||7||19||17||8||30||33||14||27||28||33||20||22||20||591|
|16||John Wes Townley (R)||23||20||16||16||16||27||32||20||14||8||25||24||19||15||10||14||25||18||16||13||32||521|
|17||Ross Chastain (R)||28||7||25||34||35||15||16||33||16||13||10||18||3||20||11||28||25||34||23||31||33||10||502|
|18||Bryan Silas (R)||29||26||32||21||20||22||25||26||22||24||17||14||22||24||18||29||16||12||29||23||16||33||471|
|20||Dakoda Armstrong (R)||35||21||14||15||13||20||18||13||27||16||12||3||30||23||31||370|
|22||Tim George, Jr.||16||17||24||15||15||21||28||22||18||9||27||18||298|
|24||Max Gresham (R)||26||19||18||22||24||30||21||30||22||23||11||12||23||291|
|27||Jennifer Jo Cobb||DNQ||34||DNQ||25||26||26||32||DNQ||29||23||36||22||DNQ||DNQ||30||16||28||27||27||DNQ||31||248|
|28||Paulie Harraka (R)||19||22||26||27||30||17||28||17||33||19||24||223|
|30||Caleb Holman (R)||DNQ||21||21||18||21||18||19||27||24||183|
|33||John King (R)||1||9||33||13||33||25||29||169|
|36||Jeb Burton (R)||13||11||36||8||19||133|
|45||Tyler Young (R)||28||23||20||30||75|
|47||C. E. Falk||34||29||16||53|
|48||Dusty Davis (R)||13||33||34||52|
|50||B. J. McLeod||DNQ||DNQ||23||15||321||331||50|
|55||J. R. Fitzpatrick||34||12||42|
|73||T. J. Duke (R)||31||13|
|Ineligible for Camping World Truck championship points|
|T. J. Bell||34||35||–|
- 1 – Post entry, driver and owner did not score points.
- 2 – Ryan Blaney was originally registered for Nationwide points, but switched to the Trucks at Atlanta.